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Jim Brown Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the life of activist, actor and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown. He played his entire career with the Cleveland Browns.


Birth date: February 17, 1936

Birth place: St. Simons Island, Georgia

Birth name: James Nathaniel Brown

Father: Swinton Brown, a professional boxer

Mother: Theresa Brown, a housekeeper

Marriages: Monique Gunthrop (1997-present); Sue Jones (1958-1972, divorced)

Children: with Monique Gunthrop: Aris and Morgan; with Sue Jones: Kim, Kevin (twins) and James Jr.; with Kim Jones: Kimberly; with Brenda Ayres: Shellee; mother’s name unavailable publicly: Karen Brown Ward

Education: Syracuse University, B.A., 1957

Other Facts

At Syracuse, Brown played football, lacrosse, basketball and ran track.

Qualified for the 1956 Olympics as a decathlete, but did not compete in order to focus on football.

Inducted into the the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971, the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995 and National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1983.

Led the NFL in rushing eight out of his nine seasons.

Played in nine straight Pro Bowls, for the 1957-1965 seasons.

NFL’s MVP in 1957, 1958 and 1965.

Starred in movies such as “The Dirty Dozen,” “Ice Station Zebra” and “100 Rifles.”


1957 – First round draft pick, sixth player overall, by the Cleveland Browns. Later named Rookie of the Year and also Most Valuable Player.

1960s – Founds the Negro Industrial and Economic Union (later renamed the Black Economic Union) to support black entrepreneurship.

1964 – “Off My Chest,” Brown’s autobiography, with Myron Cope, is published.

1964 – Film debut in “Rio Conchos.”

December 27, 1964 – The Cleveland Browns defeat the Baltimore Colts 27-0 in the NFL Championship Game. (The Super Bowl replaced the NFL Championship Game in 1967).

July 24, 1965 – A jury finds Brown not guilty of assault and battery against 18-year-old Brenda Ayres, after an incident in his hotel room.

July 14, 1966 – After nine seasons and 118 games, retires from professional football at the age of 30.

1968 – Brown is charged with assault with intent to commit murder after model Eva Bohn-Chin is found beneath the balcony of Brown’s second floor apartment. The charge is later dismissed after Bohn-Chin refuses to name him as her assailant. Brown also pays a $300 fine for striking a deputy sheriff during the same incident.

1969 – Stars in “100 Rifles” with Raquel Welch. It is one of the first major studio films to feature an interracial love scene.

February 5, 1970 – A jury finds Brown not guilty of assault and battery charges, stemming from a traffic accident in 1969.

1971 – Is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, in his first year of eligibility.

1978 – Is sentenced to one day in jail for beating and choking his golfing partner, Frank Snow. Brown is also fined $500 and receives two years’ probation.

1985 – Brown is charged with raping and assaulting a 33-year-old woman in his home. The judge later dismisses the charges based on inconsistent testimony.

August 1986 – Brown is arrested for assaulting live-in girlfriend Debra Clark. The charges are later dropped after Clark refuses to prosecute.

1988 – Founds the Amer-I-Can program, an organization dedicated to stopping gang violence and helping individuals “take charge of their lives and achieve their full potential.”

1989 – Brown’s memoir, with Steve Delsohn, “Out of Bounds,” is published.

June 15, 1999 – Following a domestic disturbance with his wife Monique Gunthrop Brown, Brown is arrested and charged with making terrorist threats toward his wife. In the 911 tape, Monique Brown accuses Brown of threatening to kill her, a claim she later recants.

September 10, 1999 – A jury finds Brown guilty of vandalism for smashing his wife’s car with a shovel during the June incident. He is later fined $1,800 and sentenced to three years’ probation, one year of domestic violence counseling and 400 hours community service or 40 hours on a work crew.

January 5, 2000 – Brown is sentenced to six months in jail for refusing the court-ordered counseling and community service hours handed down in 1999. He serves almost four months in the Ventura County jail in 2002.

2002 – Spike Lee’s documentary, “Jim Brown: All American,” is released.

2005-2010 – Executive adviser to the Cleveland Browns.

2008 – Files a lawsuit against Electronic Arts, alleging that the video game company used his likeness in the Madden NFL video games without his consent.

2009 – A federal judge dismisses Brown’s 2008 lawsuit against Electronic Arts. An appeals court upholds the ruling in 2013.

May 29, 2013 – Is named special adviser to the Cleveland Browns.

July 2014 – Files a lawsuit against sports memorabilia dealer Lelands, alleging that the online auction dealer was selling Brown’s stolen 1964 championship ring. Lelands countersues Brown in August 2014.

October 2015 – The lawsuit is settled, and Brown’s ring is returned.

September 18, 2016 – A bronze statue of Brown is unveiled outside FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Cleveland Browns. It is the first statue outside the stadium to honor a former player.

October 11, 2018 – Along with Kanye West, Brown meets with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

November 22, 2019 – Brown is announced as one of the 100 greatest players in NFL history as part of the NFL 100 All-Time Team.

January 13, 2020 – ESPN names Brown the number one greatest player in college football’s 150 year history.

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